I wish I had…

November 5, 2016

From a post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog so time ago…

“We are always optimists when it comes to time; we think there will be time to do things with other people.  And time to say things to them.”  (Fredrik Backman)

I wish I had…” That is one of the most often heard lines at funerals. I wish I had said I sad looking manlove you. I wish I had said good bye. I wish I had spent more time with him/her. At those moments; when it’s too late, you realize that you let other; less important things in your life get in the way of what is the most important thing in life – interpersonal relationships.

Most of the things that we spend our time on in life have to do with objects, earning to buy them, procuring them or using them; however those inanimate objects are not capable of giving or returning love. They do not have feelings that need to be understood, nor can they return a hug. They consume our time without giving back. They demand our attention, without feelings or caring. They dictate our schedule without considering the consequences. They steal our time, if you let them. I wish I had…

mother and childrenSomewhere in the deepest recesses of our minds most of us have warm, fond memories of being in our mothers arms as a child. Many of us have strong memories of the passion and love that we shared with a significant other. Some have vivid memories of the birth of children and watching them grow up. Yet those memories got somehow pushed back in our minds due to the seeming urgency of or day to day lives. We always thought that there would be more time with mom or dad; one more Thanksgiving or Christmas; one more birthday party; one more opportunity to say I love you. I wish I had…

When our children were growing up and we had to work to pay for more objects or to prove
more for their futures. We told ourselves that we were sacrificing our time with them so that we could provide for them. We always thought that there would be father-daughter danceone more ball game, one more dance recital, and one more graduation to go to; but, then they were grown and gone. I wish I had…

And when that significant other than you took as your partner for life was young and vibrant along with you; you always thought that there was nothing that the two of you couldn’t do together and nowhere that you wouldn’t get to go together. Yet you found yourself spending less time together, as the demands of a career took over. Somewhere along the way both of you have slowed a bit, aged a bit and things have changed a bit in your relationship. Passion slowly gave way to old coouplecompanionship and fervor to comfort. Time seemed to speed up, but you always thought there would be more; more time to say I love you and more time to prove it.  I wish I had…

Don’t let life’s distractions steal all of your time. Tell the people in your life that you love them and show them that love by spending more of your precious time with them. Seeing your son’s ball game or your daughter’s dance recital is more important than staying late at the office to work on that report. Finding time to visit mom and dad is more rewarding than washing and waxing that new car you worked so hard to get. Taking time for a hug and a kiss with your significant other and telling him/her than you love them, is more hugimportant than getting into work early. By the end of the day, those opportunities may be gone forever. Of all of the thoughts that you could have today; don’t let one of them be – I wish I had…

Do the important things today…things with the people that you love and who love you. In the final analysis, those things that you do will mean more to you than the things that you own. In the end, it is better to say, I’m glad I did; than it is to say I wish I had…

Be there for someone today…

May 23, 2016

“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.”  (H. Jackson Brown Jr) – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

timidYou will meet many people this week and all of them will be people for whom the little quote above applies. Many of them may also be someone who is need of someone else to share their fears or sadness or love with; someone who cares about them and their situation or condition. Maybe that can be you.

Our typical greeting of, “How are you?” has become such a throw-away line that we really don’t expect an answer, other than perhaps the retort, “Fine, how are you?” We ask without really caring about the other person. If anything, we respond because we want to tell them about our troubles or issues, in hopes of evoking their empathy with our situation.

I meet very few people in day-to-day life who seem really interested in the response to their, “How are you?” question. The more normal interaction is with someone who is chopping at the bit to tell me about themselves ad to share their problems. When I do meet someone who is genuinely interested in understanding me it is almost immediately obvious that their opening question, was just that – the beginning of what they hope to be a dialogue that will answer their other questions, like who are you, what makes you tick, what interesting things can I learn about you and from you? I’ve written here before that Pastor Doug McMunn, Pastor of the Milford United Methodist Church, is one such person.

How can you tell when you’ve met such a person? Well for one, they will spend much more time listening than talking themselves. They will ask short open-ended questions andempathy then intently listen to your answers. They will express empathy or sympathy, while also offering support and encouragement. You will also notice that you start to feel better because you found someone with whom you can share things that may have been nagging at you or even overwhelming you. Figuratively (and perhaps literally), you have found a shoulder to cry upon. You’ll feel better and they will too, for having been there for you.

How can you pay it forward? Be there for someone else this week. Be that good listener. Mean it when you ask the question, “How are you?” Stop and offer a shoulder to cry upon; then offer the support and encouragement that they need to move on in life. Help that person understand that they are not alone in their pain or sorrow or fears. Help them extract those demons and deal with them.

Do you need a hugThere is a rather famous sports clip of the late Jimmy Valvano running around the court after NC State won the 1983 National Championship game (click here to view ). He would later say that he was just running around looking for someone to hug. Many of us are like that in life. We run around through life looking for someone to hug. Be there this week to get and give that hug.

Be there for someone today

November 1, 2014

As seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Be kind.  Remember every one of you is fighting a battle.  Everybody’s lonesome.”  (Marion Parker)

At first, I did not get this quote. Then I thought about it and it is true that even the most popular people often have secrets that they don’t share and with which they struggle in lonely isolation. Most of the world was shocked recently when Robin Williams took his own life. Here was a guy that most of us probably thought had it all – popularity, success, money, al l of the things that we believe lead to happiness – yet he struggled with depression and eventually lost his personal battle and committed suicide. He was lonesome in that battle.

I’m sure that there may have been a few close friends of Robin Williams who knew about his struggles, but perhaps he shut them out or they just weren’t there when he needed them the most. Many of us are caringthe same way. There are people with whom we may have shared our fears or concerns or anxieties. They wanted to help, but we pushed them away; refusing their help. Why? That’s one of the hallmarks of depressed behavior – the need/desire to be left alone. It is something that true friends need to fight their way through. They need to make sure that we are not alone and not allowed to feel alone in our fight. Everybody does not have to be lonesome.

If you know of someone that you care about who is struggling with a personal demon, the best thing that you can do for them is to make sure that they are not alone in that fight. Be there for them. Make them share it with you. Provide support and comfort or just lend a shoulder to cry upon. “You are not alone” is perhaps the best thing that you can say to them. Make sure that they do not retreat into a shell of loneliness. That only leads to despair and beyond.

It may be hard sometimes to force yourself into that person’s life and you may initially encounter anger and heavy pushback from them. Don’t let them discourage you from doing the right thing; and that is not leaving them alone to wallow in self-pity. You may have to become very pushy yourself, in order to break through that defense; but, keep at it until they either seek the help that you are encouraging them to get or completely break down and share their pain with you. That is the cathartic moment that is necessary to begin the healing process.

listeningOnce they realize that they are not alone; that you won’t leave them alone; they can begin to deal with the issues outside of just their own mind. Talking things out can make all of the difference. Just hearing someone else say “It’s OK. Let it out. You’ll be OK” can make all of the difference. In fact, just hearing themselves, get it out to someone else does wonders. It takes the huge burden of hiding the pain off their shoulders.

When you were a child you’d run to Momma with your pain and she would make it all better with a kiss and a hug and maybe a Band-Aid for your boo-boo. As adults we need to be able to turn to our loved ones or friend for that hug and Band-Aid for our emotional boo-boos. That’s what friends are for, if we allow them to play the role. True friends make us let them play that role.

So, there are two bottom-line thoughts here. One is to not to become lonesome by trying to hold girls huggingeverything in; but, rather to seek out a friend or loved one to share the pain with. The second is to aggressively be that friend who is there for others, so that they can’t become lonesome in their misery. I’ll end today on this note –

“Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help. This week reach to someone that might need a lift”

― Pablo

Have you had your hug today?

November 26, 2012

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this little gem to start the week – “A hug is a great gift. One size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.” (Unknown).

Hugs are quite common is some cultures and relatively rare in others (such as ours), especially for men. Women in all cultures seem to be much more comfortable with (and prone to) hugging as a greeting. In some cultures hugs are accompanied by kisses on both cheeks; although that too has evolved into a sort of air-kiss bobbing of heads these days.

Deciding whether to hug or just shake hands can be awkward, especially if one party has already stock out their hand for the shake and the other has extended both arms for the hug. My general rule of thumb is to go for the hug, if either side has initiated it. Again, women seem more comfortable turning the greeting into a hug than men. Men seem to reserve hugs for the camaraderie of memorable sports moments or for special occasions like weddings or funerals; whereas women see hugs and a natural everyday thing to do.

I suppose it’s possible to have a heartfelt handshake with someone, but not nearly as effective as the warm embrace accompanied by some whispered sentiment that a hug allows. Of course whispering between men is another no-no in our society, unless it is at that special occasion. I guess men have substituted the pat on the back or slap on the butt for hugs. Those don’t work as well for people that you don’t know well or outside the euphoria of celebrating a special moment.

The really nice thing about a hug is that it usually makes both people feel better about themselves and the other party. So, greet someone with a hug today. They’ll feel better and you will, too.